United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, United States District Court Chief Judge
before the Court is Doroteo Estrada-Jasso's
(“Estrada”) Motion Requesting Relief From an
Unjust Sentence Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6),
see Crim. Dkt. 170,  which the Court will construe as
a motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Having
reviewed the motion and the record in this case and the
underlying criminal case, the Court will dismiss the motion
for lack of jurisdiction.
December 8, 2005, Estrada was charged with conspiracy to
possess/distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) and
(b)(1)(A). Estrada was also charged with possession with
intent to distribute or distribution of methamphetamine in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C).
pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count, and the government
agreed to dismiss the possession count. See Cr. Dkt.
92 (Plea Agreement). During the sentencing hearing, and in
his briefing filed before the hearing, defense counsel asked
the Court to impose a 120-month sentence. See Cr.
Dkt. 112. Counsel argued that such a sentence was warranted
given Estrada's age (46 at the time of sentencing); his
age at the onset of criminal history (37, with his first
felony at 44); and the sentences received by his
Court was not persuaded and imposed a 360-month sentence.
During the sentencing hearing, the Court explained that it
was troubled by the amount of methamphetamine involved,
observing that “the defendant here distributed almost
20 kilograms of methamphetamine, by my calculation.”
Transcript, Crim. Dkt. 135, at 110. The Court also
observed that although Estrada expressed remorse for what had
happened to him, he did not seem to express concern about the
“tens, if not hundreds or perhaps even thousands of
lives that were destroyed through the methamphetamine that he
distributed.” Id. at 112. For these and other
reasons, the Court rejected defense counsel's argument
for a lesser sentence.
appealed his sentence, but the Ninth Circuit dismissed the
appeal determining that Estrada had waived his right to
appeal. See Crim. Dkts. 117, 118, 140. Estrada later
filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 with this Court.
Civ. Dkt. 1. In his § 2255 motion, Estrada argued his
plea was coerced and that he received ineffective assistance
of counsel at both the trial and appellate level. In June
2010, the Court dismissed the § 2255 motion, explaining
that Estrada's claims were either “rebutted by the
record” or were “vague and conclusory.”
Civ. Dkt. 10, at 19-20.
2017, nearly seven years after the Court dismissed his §
2255 motion, Estrada filed this motion, asking the Court for
relief from his sentence under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b)(6). The central thrust of Estrada's
motion is that his lengthy sentence - 360 months - is unjust
because at his age, he will likely remain in prison until he
has labeled his motion as one brought under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). But it does not matter how the
pleading is labeled. Postconviction law is complex, and few
prisoners understand it. So the substance of a motion
governs, not the label. See generally United States v.
Washington, 653 F.3d 1057, 1059-60 (9thCir.
the substance of Estrada's motion reveals that he is
challenging the legality of his detention - not some defect
in the integrity of the prior habeas proceedings. In other
words, Estrada is again seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. §
2255. See generally Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524
(2005). The Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain such a
The Governing Legal Standards
prisoners claiming the right to be released on the grounds
that their sentence violates the Constitution or laws of the
United States may file a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
“As a general rule, § 2255 provides the exclusive
procedural mechanism by which a federal prisoner may test the
legality of detention.” Harrison v. Ollison,
519 F.3d 952, 955 (9th Cir. 2008). If the district
court denies the relief sought in the § 2255 motion, the
prisoner may not appeal that denial without first obtaining a
certificate of appealability under 28 U.S.C. §